Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Saving Money On Health Insurance

Health insurance is a tough area to save money in.  You've got to have it and its expensive!  The policy that I have started out pretty low, back when I was 34 years old.  It has gone up every year as I have gotten older and now is 4 times as much per month!  This is not the best policy in the world either.  I have a large deductible for hospital stays.  But, I do have a co-pay for doctor visits and the insurance pays for yearly tests such as a mammogram and eye exam. 

Hospital Attire

Recently I got an email from my insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, containing an offer to earn a $50 gift card, so I jumped on it!  To earn the gift card, you have to go to the BCBS website and complete a health assessment.  I did this and while there discovered that through September, if you do certain activities you can earn up to a $120.00 credit on one month's insurance premium.  Yep, I am definitely working on that one!

While this offer is wonderful, its only a one time offer.  When you look at the big picture, since I am spending a large amount each year on insurance, $170.00 is just a drop in the bucket!  But, its something, and that's better than nothing.

While writing this post, I tried to think of ways to save money on health insurance or at least maximize its benefits.  There's only so much one can do, short of dropping it altogether.  But, here are a few ideas:

1.  Its definitely worth your time to visit your insurance company's website to check to see if there are any offers that could save you some money.  Sometimes, if you lose weight, exercise more, quit smoking or complete health assessments, there are monetary benefits.

2.  Know what your policy pays for in order to get your money's worth.  If you know your policy, you can take advantage of yearly exams, etc. that are covered.  You can also avoid those unnecessary things that your policy does not pay for.

3.  Check around for better deals on insurance plans.  I'm not interested in changing plans, as I've had the one I have for over 20 years.  But, even within your current insurance company, there may be a better deal.  A search on the Internet revealed that Health Savings Account type policies can save a substantial amount of money.   Each person would have to weigh the pros and cons of any policy they are looking into.

4.  If you can be added onto a spouse's policy at work, it might be a big savings.  When we checked into doing this, the extra premium for me was just as much as I was already paying.

5.  Working for an employer with good benefits, such as health insurance, would be excellent!  I do not have this option.  I do have good benefits, but not health insurance.  Looking for a new job at this point in my life is not something I'm interested in doing either.  But if you are looking for a new job, finding one with insurance  benefits should be a priority.

6.  Stay as healthy as you can!  Taking good care of yourself with diet, exercise and preventative care will save money now and later.

7.  Increasing your deductible can reduce your premium.  Its a gamble, but if you put the money saved aside, you would have it for the deductible if you ever had to go into the hospital.

Sunrise  seen from a hospital room.
Well, those are just a few ideas that I have.  At least we can be alert for ways to save money on health insurance and not just blindly pay the premiums.  If I put so much energy into saving on groceries, wouldn't it make sense to work on saving money in an equally expensive area of life?


Meggie said...

My daughter lost her insurance because her husbands' job was eliminated by the company he worked for. She has not been able to get insurance that is affordable because of an existing condition. It is tough out there. I have medicare, but my supplement is expensive too! You have offered some good tips, today. Thanks, Debbie

Auntie M said...

I recognize the toes in that picture!!!!

This is a great post, Debbie.

Little Penpen said...

And who knows what will happen when Obamacare starts? Oh my! Insurance is a big pet peeve of mine... it's always a 'jump through the hoop' kind of thing! Anyway, I have Blue Advantage which goes up yearly for me, too. Right now it is still cheaper for me to have my own policy than to be carried on hubby's state plan. When the two figures equal, I will probably go on his plan again. (I used to be on his plan years ago before the whole thing went crazy!) I do like my Blue Advantage plan, though. I actually think it is better than his BCBS for most things. I agree that we need to be proactive and try to take care of ourselves... then we can say 'at least we tried!!!'

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

That's great! We have Blue Shield of California. I'll have to check their website. Although my husband's company gives us a wellness discount for meeting certain criteria like good BP, weight, non smoking etc.

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